Almost 200 Hartlepool primary school children will join forces with professional actors and veterans to stage a major new theatre performance to mark the 100th anniversary of end of fighting in the First World War.
A cast of over 300 youngsters will take part in the production called Honoured which will combine theatre with specially written music and songs at the Borough Hall on the Headland on Wednesday, October 24, and Thursday, October 25.
The show is the creation of Enter CIC, a County Durham-based professional theatre company and social enterprise which has extensive experience of working with primary schools to help children build their skills and develop as positive and proactive members of society.
Over the past couple of months it has been carrying out First World War-related workshops with 1,500 pupils from primary schools across Hartlepool.
From those, almost 200 children from Barnard Grove, Brougham, Eldon Grove, Grange, Sacred Heart, St Helen’s, St John Vianney, St Joseph’s and West View primary schools have been chosen to take part in the performance.
Members of the cadet forces will also take part in the gala of remembrance to the 1918 Armistice when the fighting came to an end.
Over the coming weeks, Enter CIC will work to help the children explore and develop themes relating to the war, including the impact on the servicemen’s families and the famous role of Hartlepool’s Heugh Battery, as well as learning their roles and songs for the performance.
Andrea Flynn, Enter CIC Director, said: “There is a saying that ‘If we don’t remember, we will inevitably repeat’, and in this centenary year of the armistice, it has never been more important for young people to understand the impact and legacy of the First World War and the importance of continuing that remembrance.
“’Honoured’ is not only a reference to the honours bestowed on the brave servicemen and women of our Armed Forces, it also refers to the honour bestowed on future generations to carry the torch of remembrance into the future.
“This project enables the children of Hartlepool to connect with the legacy of their past and is a marvellous way for schools and the wider community to come together in a unique event to help young people rediscover remembrance in a meaningful way.”
Previous Enter CIC projects on the First World War have seen young people from the region perform in the Festival of Remembrance in Durham Cathedral and in commemorations at historic sites in Belgium, including the Menin Gate and the Cloth Hall at Ypres.
Councillor Brenda Harrison, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Committee, added: “The carnage and loss of the First World War shattered families and cast a massive shadow over subsequent generations.
“It is vital for our young people to fully understand the sacrifices which were made and to carry that knowledge forward to share with future generations.
“We are delighted to be working with Enter CIC and our schools and the wider community on this innovative, powerful and poignant project and I very much hope that residents across the town will come along to the performance and support the young people.”
Tickets forHonoured are now on sale priced £15 each and are available at www.destinationhartlepool.com, the Box Office on (01429) 890000 or Hartlepool Art Gallery and Tourist Information Centre in Church Square.
The tourist information centre is open Tuesdays to Fridays 10am-4.30pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm.